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Al Such / WABE

The firing this week of the city of Atlanta’s chief procurement officer is the latest dramatic event at a City Hall currently embroiled in a bribery scandal over the awarding of city contracts.

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On Tuesday, Adam Smith was dismissed after the city received a subpoena. The FBI seized an office computer and phone from his department at City Hall.

Ashton Woods development Mercedes-Benz
Courtesy of Sandy Springs

The city of Sandy Springs has approved a new land use plan. It's called the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, also known as the "Comp Plan," and it's a roadmap to help Sandy Springs develop and redevelop over the next 10 years.

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"Because a lot of the jobs have shifted to the North Perimeter area and as a result, we've gone from a suburb to an edge city and we have to adapt to that," said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul.

Courtesy of Atlanta City Council

If there's a new proposed sales tax on the ballot in Atlanta this year, City Council member Felicia Moore wants to make sure some of the money goes to public safety.

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At the State of the City address last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a one-tenth of a penny sales tax specifically to fund the arts.  The tax could potentially raise $10 million-$15 million.

Atlanta City Council Considers Marijuana Legislation

10 hours ago
Council members listen to advocates argue for and against decriminalizing marijuana.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

Atlanta is Georgia's largest city. But it has at least one thing in common with one of the state's smallest cities: Clarkston.

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Both city governments have the discretion to decide how to charge people who are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana.

Clarkston is the first city in Georgia to lower the penalty to just a citation similar to a traffic ticket.

David Goldman / Associated Press

A group of state Senate Republicans has proposed legislation that they say protects the people's religious rights. 

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The measure says the state government should follow the pattern set out in the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

That law says the Federal government must show a "compelling government interest" before it can restrict someone's exercise of religion.

The new bill is not as broad as the one vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last year. 

Kaitlin Kolarik

During a weekday dinner hour, a vast industrial warehouse at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive is buzzing. Live jazz bounces off the walls, and the smell of pralines mixes with Panbury’s Double Crust Pies, wafting between closed retail spaces and merchant booths.

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AnnRos / Pixabay

An Atlanta company that organizes sports programs is getting ready to unveil plans for a sports and entertainment complex in DeKalb County.

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The Atlanta Sports Connection is building the 200-acre complex near Stonecrest Mall.

The complex will include facilities for 22 different sports, including a soccer stadium that will seat 15,000 people.

Georgia DNR

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is offering hunters an incentive to trap more coyotes.

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It's called the "Georgia Coyote Challenge," and it runs from March through August.

Each hunter who hands in a coyote carcass gets entered into a monthly drawing for chance to win a lifetime hunting license.

The Atlanta Daily World entrance
Brenna Beech / WABE

The Atlanta Daily World is the nation’s oldest daily African-American newspaper. Alexis Scott is not only the descendant of the paper’s founder, William Alexander (W.A.) Scott, she was the “World’s” publisher for 17 years.

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Flowers along a trail at Panola Mountain State Park
Al Such / WABE

Warmer weather is expected to continue in Georgia this week and climatologists say it's part of a pattern of unusually warm temperatures much of the state has experienced this winter. 

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Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia, said temperatures have been above average as a whole this winter, and that it's likely to continue. 

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta has been named one of three communities worldwide chosen for the Safer Roads Challenge, an initiative involving several companies aimed at finding solutions to traffic dangers.

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Together For Safer Roads is a consortium of IBM, UPS, AIG, Facebook and other companies.

It selected Atlanta; São Paulo, Brazil; and Shanghai, China, for the initiative.

Kaitlin Kolarik

Around 3:15 p.m. on a Wednesday, writers arrive at the KIPP STRIVE Academy in southwest Atlanta to meet with select students, as they will weekly until April. 

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Officer Jacob Mach stands with Chief Erika Shields at the swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.
Courtesy of Atlanta Police Department

Jacob Mach was sworn in as an Atlanta police officer on Tuesday. What separates him from the others in his graduating class is that he's a refugee – a "Lost Boy" of Sudan.

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Mach was one of 20,000 boys forced from their home in Sudan in 1987 because of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Only half survived the thousand-mile trek by foot to a refugee camp in Kenya.

Mach was a child when he escaped, but he still remembers that journey.

Courtesy of the city of Chamblee

More than $360 million worth of new projects are now in the works in the city of Chamblee. According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, that includes about 1,200 apartments, townhomes, senior housing, and office, retail and restaurant space.

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Al Such / WABE

A second construction company owner has pleaded guilty after he was accused of conspiring to pay bribes to get contracts with the city of Atlanta.

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News outlets report that 64-year-old Charles P. Richards, Jr. of Tucker pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Downtown Connector March 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta is coming up with a new vision for transportation in the city. This time, officials want to reimagine how Atlantans get around.

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For example, Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta is a wide one-way road, almost like a highway. Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said streets like that were designed to get cars through town as quickly as possible.

He said, if the city’s going to keep growing in population, that has to change.

Crowds braved the rain and browsed more than 175 artists who displayed and sold paintings, photography, pottery, graphics, sculptures and jewelry at the 27th annual Art in the Park festival Labor Day weekend.
Photo courtesy of the City of Marietta

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was ranked as the busiest airport in the country by the FAA in 2015. With the millions of travelers that pour through the gates every year, there’s a good chance your parents might be among the crowd at some point.

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More than 150 protesters gather outside the federal immigration enforcement office in Atlanta.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

Businesses and workers across the nation today have taken the day off to show how important immigrants are to the country's workforce.

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Diana Martinez, who is an immigrant, says she took the day off from her job as a nanny to protest outside the federal immigration enforcement office in Atlanta.

"I told my boss," she said. "He supports me."

Some of the other protesters took the day off too.

Feld Entertainment

There are many things to do in Atlanta this weekend for all ages, and Atlanta PlanIt is here to share some highlights. Folk fans may be interested in a symphony tribute concert to the duo Simon & Garfunkel. New York dance company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is coming to Atlanta’s iconic Fox Theatre. Families may enjoy Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s final Atlanta performances. And the weekend closes with a free reading from the U.S. Poet Laureate. These are all things to do in Atlanta this weekend, Feb.

Courtesy of the Atlanta Braves

Good news for Atlanta sports fans still dealing with the sour aftertaste of the Super Bowl – spring training is underway.

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Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers held their first workout Wednesday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

So, is there room for optimism?

"I think the lineup is better, you know, some of these players got a lot of at-bats last year, so they should be able to produce a little more," Atlanta-based sports reporter I.J. Rosenberg said.

Pixabay

An auditing firm has been hired to see why water bills are so high in DeKalb County.

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The DeKalb Board of Commissioners voted 7-0 Tuesday to pay KPMG $275,000 Tuesday for the audit.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that one in eight customers' bills have at least tripled since April 2015.

Rick O'Quinn / University of Georgia Photographic Services File

  

The University of Georgia is not getting a new stadium, but it may just be the next best thing.

On Tuesday, Georgia's athletic board of directors gave the nod to a $63 million project for Sanford Stadium.

DeKalb Libraries May Be Facing Huge Funding Cuts

Feb 14, 2017
If DeKalb County's library supply funding is cut, it would mean fewer new books.
Alison Guillory / WABE

DeKalb County's library system could lose more than half its funding for new books and supplies.

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Last year, libraries got $1.1 million for supplies. This year, the system is looking at $440,000.

Sara Fountain, chair of DeKalb County Public Library's board of trustees, says the cut would be damaging.

"A lot of people who use the library don't have the financial resources to access certain materials," Fountain says. "And so it's a critical need for our community."

The Supreme Court is seen in the morning in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Georgia has secured a victory in a decades-long battle with Florida over water.

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Florida says Georgia uses too much water, and not enough makes it down to the Gulf of Mexico, so the state sued. Florida blames Georgia's water use for damages to its oyster industry and the state’s surrounding economy.

The case went all the way to a “special master” appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Courtesy of the city of Chamblee

The city of Chamblee might get a boost in population, if a grass-roots organization from unincorporated DeKalb County gets its wish.

“People want to have better representation, you know, and better governance,” says John Oselette, a member of the Chamblee Study Group.

On Thursday, Oselette and others from the Northlake and North Briarcliff areas will make the pitch to Chamblee officials.

The main goal is to get DeKalb County representatives to sponsor the issue so that it gets on a ballot that residents can vote on.

Bryan Cox / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Associated Press

Recent arrests of unauthorized immigrants have sparked fear in some immigrant communities after federal officials arrested hundreds of people last week in several states, including Georgia.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it arrested 87 people in Georgia, as well as 84 people in North Carolina and 19 in South Carolina.

The Daffodil Project

After an unusually mild winter, Georgia’s own groundhog General Beauregard Lee predicted an early spring. While his prediction has proven correct – so far – a more reliable sign of spring is the sight of daffodils blooming after a months-long hibernation.

If you’ve been downtown in the past couple of weeks, you may have seen thousands of these bright yellow flowers blooming from Woodruff Park to the campus greens of Georgia State University.

Ali Guillory / WABE

Housing prices near the BeltLine are rising faster than in the rest of Atlanta, according to a new study.

That probably comes as little surprise to anyone familiar with the popular path and the businesses and homes that spring up around it. But now, Dan Immergluck, a professor at the School of City and Regional planning at Georgia Tech, has quantified it.

Pixabay Images

Most people enjoy a warmer-than-usual winter.

But, Georgia peach farmers do not.  

Georgia's peach crops need about 1,000 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees...between November and mid-February.

They're called "chill hours." 

"The trees need to lay dormant for a certain period of time and the buds really need that chill accumulation to be able to set a crop and create a peach,” said Lee Dickey, a peach farmer in Crawford County.

Last year Georgia had only about 750 chill hours and the crops were down about 20 percent.

Pixabay Images

People with allergies beware: pollen is back in Metro Atlanta.

Atlanta Allergy and Asthma reports the pollen count in Metro Atlanta reached 513 Monday. That's after being at a pollen count of 62 on Friday.

"We didn't hit values nearly this high until March, so this is very early for us," said Laura Belanger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

She said Metro Atlanta will likely see rain later Tuesday, and that might help ease pollen.

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